How to figure out who to vote for on May 6th

Local elections are due to take place on May 6th 2021 for the 145 councils in England, 13 directly elected mayors, and 39 police and crime commissioners. Who you can vote for on the day will depend on where you are in the country and the candidates in your area.

These elections are the result of the May 2020 elections being postponed for a year due to Covid. To help you figure out how to vote and who to vote for, here is everything you need to know ahead of the day.

How do I register to vote?

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You can register to vote at GOV.UK if you are 18 years old and a British citizen,  but this must be in advance of any elections you are wanting to vote in. You also need to be living at an address in the area you wish to vote in.

You only need to register to vote once, not for every election. The only reason you will need to re-register is if you have legally changed your name, nationality or moved addresses.

How often do I have to vote?

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Where you live will depend on how many elections you have the chance to vote in, but generally, this will be the general election, local government elections, and elections for local mayors and the police and crime commissioners.

The general election takes place every 5 years and the outcome will decide the members of parliament as well as the Prime Minister. Local elections are a little more varied, as local authorities can elect all their councillors every 4 years, half of their councillors every 2 years, or a third of their councillors every year and then no elections on the 4th year.

When and where can I vote?

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For this round of local elections, May 6th 2021 is the official polling day, which means you have to vote on this day unless you have signed up for a postal vote. On this day, polling stations will open up across the nation from 7am to 10pm to ensure that everyone has the chance to vote. If you have registered to vote, you should receive a poll card in the post. This card will tell you which polling station you should vote at.

Who can I vote for?

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Who you can vote for depends on who is running in the election in your local authority. To find out who the candidates are, you can type your postcode into ‘Who can I vote for‘ to find out more information about the candidates. Information you might find out about them, aside from who they are, is what political party they are in and how well they have done in past elections that they have taken part in.

What about Covid?

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At the moment, Covid-19 is still a threat we all have to bear in mind, so when you go to vote, you will need to wear a face-covering and maintain social distancing. The public has also been asked to bring their own pens with them to fill out the ballot, as this will also help reduce the risk of the Coronavirus.

If you have Coronavirus or are self-isolating, you should not go to the polling station and should instead apply for an emergency proxy vote. This is where someone you select can vote on your behalf. You can apply for an emergency proxy up to 5pm on polling day, which in this case is May 6th 2021.

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